Alberta Phillips, associate editor with the Austin American Statesman will be the moderator for tonight’s discussion prior to the All-American Presidential Forums Watch Party at the LBJ Library. Here is her bio:
“For me, journalism is more than “just the facts” — it’s a search for truth. To that end, journalists have a duty to raise the veil that blocks the public from its government, institutions and leaders. We have the ability to shine a light on human failings and triumphs. So we must keep searching until all the dark places are lit.”
Alberta Phillips is an associate editor with the Austin American-Statesman. Her duties include writing daily editorials and frequent columns. She joined the American-Statesman in 1986, but has been a member of the editorial board since July 2000. She writes on a variety of topics, but specializes in education, juvenile justice, public school financing, religion, health, racial issues, social justice and Texas politics. Phillips also writes a regular column. Her columns reflect many of the issues people grapple with on a regular basis; race relations, parental responsibility; community values; and culture.
Phillips began her career at the American-Statesman in August 1986, first working as a neighbor reporter covering Austin’s minority community. Later, she covered public schools, county government, general assignments and higher education. In 1992, she joined the newspaper’s capitol press corps to cover the Texas Legislature.
In 2005, Phillips was named first runner-up for the national Casey Award for Meritorious Journalism for distinguished writing on children and families.
In 2004, Phillips was awarded second place in the category of community service by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors for her series of editorials regarding the injustice in Tulia. She also received an honorary mention for her columns.
In 2003, the Headliners Foundation of Texas awarded Phillips first place for column writing. The award-winning columns dealt how a negative counterculture is leading minority youths into crime; when it is justified to use vigilante justice to dispel criminals from the neighborhood; and whether the Black Church played a role in Ron Kirk’s defeat for U.S. Senate.
In 2002, the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors for her 2001 series detailing corruption in the state’s $20 billion school trust fund awarded Phillips first place for editorial writing. Her editorials spurred changes in state law.
She is the recipient of the 2002 Region VII National Association of Black Journalists Ma’at (Truth) Award for first place in editorial writing for a report on the illegal takings of land owned by African Americans. Those same editorials received an honorable mention in the 2002 competition by the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association.
In 2000, she was awarded the School House Award by the Texas Federation of Teachers for a series of articles that examined the link between student performance and quality teachers. In 1999, Phillips received the School Bell Award from the Texas State Teachers Association for detailing a critical shortage of qualified teachers in predominantly Hispanic and African American public schools.
Phillips is the mother of two sons who work in the film industry in Los Angeles. In her spare time, Phillips works as a board member for the Salvation Army and has been involved in the prison ministry for Holy Cross Catholic Church, administering to young people — especially women and mothers — who end up in county jails. Phillips attended Nassau Community College in Garden City, New York, and the University of Texas College of Communication. She worked for a number of weekly and black-owned newspapers before joining the Statesman.